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College football bowls: 10 individual matchups we can't wait to see

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LSU defense shows up when it matters (0:37)

Tigers freshman Derek Stingley Jr. becomes first player with two interceptions in the SEC championship since 2000. (0:37)

College football bowl season is fun for many reasons -- the unique team matchups, the wacky bowl names and, most of all, plenty of football. One of the best parts about it is being able to watch top players at their positions go head-to-head against others.

Here are 10 matchups we're looking forward to when the games begin:

CFP Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb vs. LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr.

One of the nation's best receivers against a member of DBU? Yes, please. Lamb, a Biletnikoff Award finalist who averages 20.8 yards per catch, squares off against Stingley, a smothering true freshman corner who has the second-highest number of pass breakups (15) and passes defended (21) in the nation to go with six interceptions. Get your popcorn ready.

CFP Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl

Clemson WR Tee Higgins vs. Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah

If Lamb vs. Stingley is the appetizer on the semifinal day, Higgins vs. Okudah will be the main course. Opponents don't often like to test Okudah, a Thorpe Award finalist, but you can bet Trevor Lawrence will be fearless with Higgins, who has 1,082 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.

Ohio State DE Chase Young vs. Clemson OT Jackson Carman

Protecting the quarterback is always of utmost importance for offenses, just as pressuring QBs is paramount for defenses. Carman did not allow a sack this season and allowed only 10 pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. Young, the Heisman Trophy finalist, is the FBS leader in sacks (16.5). It's also of interest to Ohio State fans because Carman was an Ohio kid who chose Clemson over Ohio State in part because Dabo Swinney happened to mention Urban Meyer likely wouldn't be at Ohio State much longer.

Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual

Oregon OT Penei Sewell vs. Wisconsin DE Zack Baun

Sewell, an Outland Trophy finalist, has been nothing but stellar as both a pass blocker and a run blocker for the Ducks. Baun, who was second in the Big Ten in sacks (12.5) to Chase Young, should provide for a strong test in the Rose Bowl.

Allstate Sugar Bowl

Baylor DEs James Lynch and James Lockhart vs. Georgia OT Andrew Thomas

Georgia's stout offensive line against Baylor's strong, fast defensive line will be a fun matchup across the board. Individually, Thomas, a potential first-round draft pick and All-SEC first-team pick, will likely see some of Lynch, the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, as well as Lockhart. The two ends have combined for 17.5 sacks. And for even more fun, watch Baylor DT Bravvion Roy against the interior Georgia O-line.

Valero Alamo Bowl

Utah DE Bradlee Anae vs. Texas OT Samuel Cosmi

Anae, who was second in the Pac-12 with 12.5 sacks and won the conference's Morris Trophy (chosen by opposing offensive linemen), leads a stout Utah defense. Cosmi, the athletic tackle who caught a throwback pass from Sam Ehlinger for a touchdown earlier this season, was a second-team All-Big 12 pick and was a consistent, reliable force for the Longhorns all year.

Vrbo Citrus Bowl

Michigan CB Lavert Hill vs. Alabama's receivers

Hill, a first-team All-Big Ten corner, has the third-highest forced incompletion rate (30.8 percent) in the country, according to PFF. Alabama has a ton of receivers, and though it's not certain who will play in the bowl (Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith and Henry Ruggs III are all draft-eligible), there's always Jaylen Waddle, who is as explosive as they come.

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl

Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard vs. Texas A&M's run defense

We don't know for sure if Hubbard -- a redshirt sophomore -- will play in the bowl game (or if he is going to declare for the NFL draft), but if the nation's leading rusher plays, he'll go up against a Mike Elko-led unit that has been stellar in stopping the run the past two years. Led by defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, the Aggies held nine of their 12 opponents to 155 or fewer rushing yards, including holding Clemson to 122 (3.6 yards per carry) and Georgia to 97 (2.6). Hubbard, who is just 64 yards shy of 2,000, has reached 100 in every game in which he had double-digit carries.

Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl

Buffalo OT Evin Ksiezarczyk vs Charlotte DE Alex Highsmith

The first game of bowl season gives us a fun matchup to watch right out of the gate. Highsmith, an athletic edge rusher for the 49ers, has 14 sacks this season, tied for second in the FBS. In his regular-season finale against Old Dominion, he racked up 4.5 sacks. Ksiezarczyk is a first-team All-MAC tackle and part of a Buffalo offensive line that allowed only eight sacks this year, the second-lowest total in the FBS.

Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl

SMU QB Shane Buechele vs. FAU CB Meiko Dotson

SMU has been one of the season's best stories, as the Mustangs have reached double-digit wins for the first time since 1984, the Pony Express heyday. Buechele and talented receivers James Proche and Reggie Roberson have been a big reason why. Dotson, on the other hand, leads the nation in interceptions with nine, including three games in which he had two picks. He's part of an FAU defense that has 21 picks, most in the FBS.